Slice of Life #17-Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This is a ridiculous week, full of late hours and a conference on Saturday.  But St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday so I can’t let it pass without celebrating a little.  I wore my green sweater this morning and then decided to throw a beef stew in the crockpot before heading to school.

The stew took a little longer to throw together than planned so I was almost late to school.  But when I came home and opened the front door I remembered why it was worth it.  The house smelled delicious and my stomach started growling almost immediately.

I decided that Guinness beef stew wasn’t enough, though.  I thought back to our last trip to Ireland and tried to remember some of the side dishes served with the beef stew over there.  It didn’t take long for me to remember the delicious mashed potatoes.  A little online research helped me figure out the name of the dish: colcannon.  It’s a mashed potato that’s full of butter, cabbage, and green onions.  It is, not surprisingly, delicious!

I am not usually one to take pictures of my food but tonight I had fun.  The most important part, though, is that dinner was delicious!  The flavors melded together and I felt like I was back in Ireland for a few minutes.  It was exactly what I needed tonight!

And now I am off to eat a slice of the Irish soda bread that I bought fresh at Delicious Orchards today.  I hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day, too!  Slainte!

Out of Ireland #sol14

20140315-225308.jpgI’m a little bit Irish.  If “a little bit” means almost 100%. And the part of me that isn’t Irish is Scottish.  And those Scots moved to Glasgow from Ireland.  So as you can imagine, I love St. Patrick’s Day.

Chris and I have been to Ireland twice; once to Dublin for a week and once to the Boyne Valley for a week with my entire family.  (If anyone ever needs a place to stay in Ireland we highly recommend Abhainn Lodge.)

We’ve struggled to find our own local Irish pub here in NJ for years.  We’ve tried and enjoyed many places, but nothing managed to capture the ambiance and taste of an authentic Irish pub.  We didn’t have high hopes when we decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early this weekend but I did some research anyway.  We made the decision to try someplace new, a bit out of the way for us in Bordentown.  We ran some errands on the way and ended up at Dubh Linn Square Pub around 3pm.  Figuring we would grab an early dinner before the crowds showed up we were a little surprised to be directed to overflow parking.

For those who don’t know me, I’m also a bit impatient.  “If the wait is long, we’ll just leave,” I told Chris as we walked across the parking lot.  There was a patio area quickly filling up with folks in green, green, and more green.  A band was setting up and kids were getting their faces painted.  But we were pleasantly surprised when we were immediately seated in the upstairs bar.  And the TVs were all tuned to RTE, the Irish television channel!

Chris and I had checked out the menu online beforehand so we were surprised to receive a paper menu.  It turns out the restaurant was serving a streamlined St. Patricks Day Weekend menu.  We later learned they were also using plastic utensils and plates in order to save time.  As we watched the restaurant fill up over the next hour I began to understand why they were using paper/plastic.  That place was going to be rockin’ all night!

The streamlined menu was simple but did include a lot of Irish fare.  I went with the Guinness beef stew and Chris decided to try the chicken boxty, which I remembered seeing in a few pubs in Ireland.  When they brought out our dinners they were on foam plates and it was a little strange.  But all my questions disappeared the moment I tasted the food.

It.was.perfect.

Chris and I practically inhaled our food and decided it was the most authentic Irish fare we’ve found in New Jersey.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chris eat as enthusiastically as he did tonight.  As he ate his chicken boxty with whiskey cream sauce he kept telling me that we need to find a recipe immediately so we can make it at home.

As we ate dinner we watched Ireland win the RBS Six Nations Cup (a rugby tournament) and listened to the band downstairs play.  There were bagpipes, Irish step dancers, and lots of folks in green.  It was a fabulous way to kick off the weekend and we can’t wait to go back!

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